by Fiona Noonan, Preservation Assistant
We are all drawn to books for different reasons – Stories, Authors, Illustrations and Bindings. So, when those of us working on The Clean Sweep Project were asked to write posts for the NLI Blog on books that stood out for us, I immediately made a mental list of the ones which held special interest for me. One such book which I had the pleasure of cleaning was an illustrated book called Misadventures at Margate, a legend of Jarvis’s Jetty, which contains a short story and character illustrations.
Misadventures at Margate, a legend of Jarvis’s Jetty was written by Rev. Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845). Also known as Thomas Ingoldsby of Tappington Manor, Barham wrote ghost stories, tales, poems and humorous short stories, which for decades entertained both adults and children. These Misadventures form part of a series of Ingoldsby Legends which were initially printed in the journal Bentley’s Miscellany during the 1840s. The story is all about a chance encounter between a Mr. Simpkinson and a vulgar little boy. Like all good 1970s television series, there is a moral at the end of the story and the moral is… well, you’ll have to read the story.
The illustrations in Misadventures at Margate are by Ernest Maurice Jessop. Jessop worked as a painter, etcher and illustrator in London for many years. He illustrated three other books with Ingoldsby, and he contributed illustrations to Punch Magazine and Vanity Fair in 1903, but unfortunately this is the only information that I could find on Ernest Jessop. There doesn’t seem to be any readily available biographical information on him – very mysterious. So, if anyone can fill in the gaps for us, we would be very grateful.
Misadventures at Margate and other beautiful books we’ve been working on, are on display in our Clean Sweep room (just off the front hall in our Main Building) every afternoon between 3 and 4. Drop in and have a look at them – we’re happy to answer questions about any of the books on display and about our Clean Sweep Project.